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Championship betting team guide: Watford

by Sean Goff | August 10, 2012


Manager: Gianfranco Zola

Ins: Fitz Hall (free transfer), Manuel Almunia (free transfer), Matej Vydra (loan), Daniel Pudil (loan), Ikechi Anya (loan), Almen Abdi (loan), Steve Leo Beleck (loan)

Outs: Scott Loach (undisclosed amount), Adrian Mariappa (undisclosed amount), Chez Isaac (undisclosed amount), David Mirfin (free transfer), Tom James (free transfer), Rene Gilmartin (free transfer), Josh Walker (free transfer)

Strengths: They are prone to exceed expectations. Watford just cannot seem to get a break in the Championship. Every time a new season comes around, the Hornets are always one of the teams which people talk about being relegation candidates.

And yet, the closest they have come to the trap door in the past three campaigns was when they finished in 16th spot in the 2009/10 season – seven points clear of the doom of relegation. Being the underdogs seems to suit Watford just fine, so why change now?

Lloyd Doyley

LOYAL LLOYD: Doyley has been at the Hornets for 10 years (pic: Getty)

Weaknesses: Gianfranco Zola. Zola is indeed a football legend – the skills he displayed on the pitch in the 1990s and early noughties with Chelsea are unmatched. But he is still relatively unproven in his role as a gaffer.

The Italian’s maestro’s only other venture into management was with West Ham United. The role started well but ended with his dismissal when the Hammers finished the 2009/10 Premier League campaign in 17th position – just five points off relegation. Time will tell whether Zola has learnt from his mistakes.

Last season’s performance: Watford once again defied the odds and had an impressive season which saw them finish in 11th spot – 24 points clear of the relegation zone where so many people expected them to be lingering.

If they were a celebrity: Chris Moyles. Both have defied the critics for as long as we can remember – who would have thought that Moyles would have had a popular breakfast show on Radio One for eight long years and then look to be about to achieve just as much success on our TV screens? Just that one hand at the back?  Thought so.

You might not have known: Watford has one of the most loyal players in English football – Lloyd Doyley. The defender has been a professional with the Hornets for 10 years, but was a part of the Hertfordshire-based club as a youth for eight years before that opportunity even rolled around. Now that’s commitment.

Championship title odds: 33/1

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